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The International cricket Council (ICC) has told Reuters it is continuing preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Australia this year as planned and denied reports on Wednesday that a decision had been taken to postpone the event.
Media reports in India said ICC members had come to an understanding that this year's event would be pushed back to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ICC board is to meet on Thursday to discuss several issues related to the pandemic and its members will also address the fate of the World Cup, which is due to be played at stadiums around Australia from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15.
"The ICC has not taken a decision to postpone the T20 World Cup and preparations are ongoing for the event in Australia this year as per plan," a spokesman for the governing body told Reuters.
"This is on the agenda for the ICC Board meeting on Thursday and a decision will be taken in due course."
Australia has been among the most successful nations in containing the spread of the new coronavirus but travel restrictions remain in place with several state and territory borders still closed.
A cricket Australia spokeswoman told Reuters she was unaware of any decision being taken to postpone the World Cup.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI), which is set to host the following edition of the tournament in 2021, is keeping a close eye on developments as a postponement could open up a window for this year's Indian Premier League.
The lucrative franchise-based tournament, which was supposed to start at the end of March, had to be postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic and the BCCI could see a $530 million dip in revenue if it fails to find another window for the competition.
Cummins backs IPL
Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins told reporters on Wednesday that the IPL would be a great stand-in if the World Cup was postponed.
The T20 competition's start is looking increasingly unlikely amid virus-related travel restrictions.
"If that opens up a window I think the IPL would be a great fit," Cummins told media in Sydney.
He remained optimistic that the World Cup and Australian tour of England would go ahead, but if those were cancelled at least a return of T20 could be a boost to the game.
"You have millions and millions of people watching that tournament around the world... potentially even more after a long break off cricket," he said.
"There's a lot of reasons why I would want it to go ahead but the main one is it's a great tournament."
Cummins said he was eager to return to play after nearly a ten-week break from the sport.
"I'm just about ready to get back into it and ready for that next tour," he said.
Shashank Manohar is prepared to stay on as International cricket Council chairman to oversee a "smooth transition" following reports that former India captain Sourav Ganguly is considering standing, the ICC said on Wednesday.
Indian administrator Manohar, who became the ICC's first independent chairman in 2016, has ruled out a third term in office.
The game's global governing body said no final decision had been taken regarding the election process but the subject would be discussed further on Thursday.
There had been suggestions that Colin Graves, who recently stood down as chairman of the England and Wales cricket Board, would succeed Manohar unopposed until reports emerged that Ganguly, currently the president of the Board of Control for cricket in India, was interested in the role.
South African director of cricket Graeme Smith has backed fellow former Test captain Ganguly, saying: "It is time for someone close to the modern game with leadership credentials to get into the position."
The ICC also said suggestions that the men's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled to start in October, had been postponed due to the coronavirus were "inaccurate", although it said contingencies were being explored.
A postponement could allow the already postponed Indian Premier League to go ahead in its place.
Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins said: "If that opens up a window I think the IPL would be a great fit."
But the ICC said: "Reports of a postponement of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 are inaccurate and planning for the event continues."
World number one Twenty20 batsman Babar Azam said on Monday he was praying the coronavirus pandemic would not scupper his first T20 World Cup as Pakistan skipper.
Veteran South Africa cricketer Faf du Plessis has proposed isolation for players in order for the T20 World Cup to go ahead risk free later this year.
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